Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novella spawned ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, Stanley Kubrick’s last film. Returning it to turn-of-the-century Vienna, Anna Ledwich’s clever but protracted adaptation lowers us into Vienna’s underworld, as Dr Fridolin (Luke Neal) seeks to satisfy his throbbing id.
Leaving his wife asleep, he spirals through the city, stumbling into a secret society for anonymous promiscuity. His subconscious drives him on, but spluttering conscience holds him back.
Like ‘La Ronde’, Schnitzler’s most famous play, ‘Dream Story’ is mathematically structured: a tidy palindrome that peaks then retraces its steps. It’s best at its deepest and darkest, particularly when allowing us in to Fridolin’s neurotic mind.
Luke Neal is upright and uptight as the dirty doctor, stiffened with guilt. However, more everyday sections are tentative and unfocused. Ledwich flags the shortcomings of language compared to feeling, but, in doing so, proves there’s nothing so dull as the recounted dreams of other people.